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At today's seminar I moved Bosley from the novice group to the advanced group. The novice group was working on basic jump patterns (270s, 180s, serpentines and threadles). Many people in the novice group had little experience with the more complex patterns, but we have worked on these patterns often in class and at other seminars, so I didn't really need to review them again.
In the advanced group we worked on jumping sequences and on distance work. Bosley did well in the jumping although he does need to push through more on the 270 so that I don't need to be right there to support the pattern. I got a good tip on how to handle my front crosses a bit better (need to cue the turn with my "off arm" before I turn my body). It seemed to work nice, so I will need to practice that more in class.
The distance work went well, considering I have just started to to distance stuff with Bosley. The first distance challenge was send through a tunnel and then straight over two jumps that were about 12 feet away and parallel to but gradually getting farther from the gamble line. Bosley took the two jumps with no hesitation, which totally shocked me. He didn't even check to see where I was. The second distance challenge was to send over a jump and then away from me to the far end of a tunnel. This was a bit more difficult for Bosley as I was not moving with him as in the first challenge, but rather was behind him sending him forward. We had a bit of success at the end where he was going to the closer end of the tunnel instead of the far end, but he was trying hard to figure it out.
I was very happy I switched to the advanced class. I didn't feel that Bosley was out of place with some of the more experienced dogs and I took away some good tips and ideas on how to improve my distance training.
This weekend Bosley and I are attending a Kiersten Lloyd agility seminar. I have taken seminars from Kiersten in the past, and I really like her style of teaching.
Today we ran the dogs through a short course, breaking it down into small sections at first. The first thing Bosley did was take off on me to go explore the farm that the seminar was being held at. Bosley and I then had a stand-off about his 2on/2off on the A-frame. (He seemed to think that he didn't need to stop.) The one thing that Kiersten is really big on is to set the criteria you want for your dog and then always insist that both you and your dog follow that criteria. I had to struggle today to get Bosley to stick his A-frame contact to the point where I (and Kiersten) had to physically put Bosley in the correct position until he was staying there until I released him.
What I was reminded of the most today was that Bosley can take a lot more pressure and correction than I give him credit for. I always think of him as being a soft, easygoing puppy, but in reality he is a very confident (sometimes over-confident) dog who sometimes needs to to be told when he is doing something wrong. He does not melt when I am stern with him and as Kiersten pointed out, I sometimes need to be more stern, especially on those times that he tries to "blow me off".
When we were in Edmonton, there was a photographer there taking pictures of the agility. I ordered Bosley's pictures because it was his first trial. I have 93 photos to sort through and I will post pictures when I decide which ones are my favorites.
For now, I will post a couple that are not my favorites. I hate when I am in the pictures. I always have pointy fingers that makes me look like I am doing some kind of Disco move.
Maggie and I just attended our very first agility Regionals Championship Trial. It was amazing. There were 160 dogs from all across Alberta here in Lethbridge to compete for "Top Dog" and to try to qualify to go the the National Championships later this summer. I got to watch some of best agility dogs in our province (and in the world since there were several world team members competing). All I can say is WOW! There are some very amazing teams out there. I am very proud to say many of those great teams were right from our own little agility club. Everyone from our school did wonderful with placements in their divisions and with nearly everyone qualifying for Nationals. We are very lucky to have talented and supportive instructors in Sarah and Amanda. They are both amazing handlers and wonderful teachers of the sport.
My goal this weekend with Maggie was to go out there and enjoy being at Regionals. We had a lot of fun. Maggie would have had more fun if the weather would have been cooler, but she worked hard and tried her best, which is all I can ask. We had some really awful runs this weekend. I say this with a smile because, although Maggie made up some of her own courses and I got lost on one course, I would look over and see "The Maggie Face" and it suddenly didn't matter how poorly we were doing. The "Maggie Face" looks like this:
This is Maggie just having fun. My most memorable run of the weekend was the Gamblers on Sunday. It was hot and Maggie was trying hard to do what I was asking but was really sluggish over all the obstacles. We ran out of time on our final gamble and the buzzer went indicating our time was up and Maggie suddenly perked up because she knew we were done and sprinted out of the ring, jumping over all the jumps in her path. Everyone watching laughed and I did too - if Maggie is good at anything, it is making people smile.
So, we didn't win any ribbons but we had lots of fun and I was just so happy to be playing agility with Maggie, and that is all that should really matter.
Oh ya, we won a door prize. A big bag filled with dog treats, dog toys, a t-shirt for me and a very cute doggie raincoat. Here is Maggie modeling the raincoat - doesn't she look cute?
Ok, so it doesn't quite fit, but it is still cute.
This weekend's weather forecast is predicting sun and hot temperatures. Temperatures about 20 degrees warmer than last weekend. Bernese Mountain Dogs hate the warm weather.
This is all Maggie wants to do when it is hot out.
She is not at all impressed with the weather forecast.
Here is Bosley, soaking up some of the morning sun.
Our Regional Agility Championships are this weekend. In the heat. I guess that means Maggie will need to be hosed down before each run to try to pep her up a bit. Poor Maggie - the biggest event of the year and it has to be so hot out. Hopefully we can get most of our runs finished early while it is still a littler cooler out.
This past weekend, we took a road trip all the way up to Edmonton to compete in a CKC agility trial. I thought it would be a good first trial back for Maggie, because she only has to jump 20" in CKC agility opposed to 22" in AAC agility that we usually compete in. I also thought it would be a good trial for Bosley to make his agility debut, as CKC novice courses are generally nice, short courses that flow very well.
Our road trip turned out to be well worth the all the kilometers that we drove. The weather in Edmonton was perfect - very cool and cloudy all weekend. We got a great spot to bench, right next to the agility ring, and I didn't get lost trying to find the trial site or my hotel.
Maggie had an awesome weekend. She brought home 2 Q's - one in Intermediate Standard and one in Intermediate JWW. She earned both of these Friday on her first 2 runs - so it was a great way to start the weekend. She didn't earn anymore Qs, but I couldn't have been happier with the way she ran. On a couple of her runs, she was way faster than I expected so I didn't get my cues out in time and she had a couple off courses, where she added extra jumps in, just for good measure. Her last run on Saturday, after a very long day, was a jumpers run. Usually at the end of a day, she is very pokey, but not this time. Her jumpers run was amazing. The course was very open and fast and she flew through the run, nailing her weaves and weaving as fast as she does in practice. She knocked a bar coming down the home stretch, but I was so thrilled with that run, I didn't even care. I don't ever remember her having such a strong run right from the first obstacle all the way to the finish. It felt great!
Now to Bosley's weekend. We showed everyone that big dogs can play agility too! Bosley ran great all weekend, and I was very impressed with his focus. He Q'd both his runs on Friday and all 4 of his runs on Saturday, earning both Novice titles. He had perfect scores on all his runs except two - he had a refusal on a jump because he ran past it to get to the table quicker (he loves the table) and he had a refusal on the dogwalk because he stopped to sniff a chair. He placed 1st in four of his runs and 2nd in 2 of his runs. He had some nice times too, one of his jumpers runs he did in 28 seconds! On Sunday, I moved him to Intermediate. He did an excellent job on these runs too, but no Qs. On his standard run, I was racing him to the teeter and he missed his up contact for a NQ, but the rest of the run was perfect. On his jumpers course, he nailed a difficult weave entry, but my handling caused him to have a refusal on a tunnel later in the course. I know it was my handling, because Maggie had a refusal on the exact same obstacle. Instead of sending to the tunnel, I ran right up to the tunnel mouth and stopped. Both dogs put their head in the tunnel and then came right back out again - bad me!
I am glad a made the trip to Edmonton. I am so happy with both my dogs' performances this weekend.